Wide-ranging Report on Improving the Schools Workforce

A wide-ranging report on the schools workforce by the Productivity Commission proposes that governments should make more use of higher pay to attract teachers to hard-to-staff subjects and schools but defer introduction of the national performance bonus scheme for teachers. It also says that education disadvantage is a high priority for school workforce reforms and calls for a comprehensive evaluation of programs that target disadvantaged students. Continue reading “Wide-ranging Report on Improving the Schools Workforce”

Teacher Librarians are Fast Disappearing

While Peter Garrett, our federal education minister fiddles and doesn’t respond to the report of last year’s Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher Librarians and its (inadequate) recommendations, Australian students continue to lose teacher librarians and school libraries. Continue reading “Teacher Librarians are Fast Disappearing”

High Teacher Turnover in Teach for America

Another plank of the education platform of the Gillard Government is in danger of collapsing. The fast-track teacher training program Teach for Australia is under question following new research findings that the majority of teachers in its US counterpart Teach for America leave teaching after 3 years. The attrition rate in Teach for America is much higher than for traditionally trained new teachers. Continue reading “High Teacher Turnover in Teach for America”

Business Writer Defends Teacher Unions

A scathing indictment of the market-based model of education was recently published on the website of the business magazine Forbes. It makes for compulsory reading. It says the neo-liberal market reform agenda in education has failed and that teacher unions are needed to defend and improve public education.

The author accuses market-based reformers as being “simply in the business of union-busting” and “seeking to dismantle a powerful political opponent while ushering for-profit schools in through the side door, and handing out lucrative contract to political allies in the private sector”. He says the neo-liberal approach will result in an even lower-paid teaching force, with fewer benefits and less job security. Continue reading “Business Writer Defends Teacher Unions”

Teacher Bonuses Fail Again

Evidence continues to accumulate that the teacher bonus scheme soon to be introduced in Australian schools is doomed to failure and a waste of taxpayer funds. Another study published this week has shown that paying performance bonuses for teachers does not increase student achievement or change teaching practices.

The latest scheme to fail is the New York City bonus program introduced by Julia Gillard’s own hero and mentor, former schools chancellor Joel Klein who is now in charge of Rupert Murdoch’s push into the education technology market. The Prime Minister has copied yet another failed policy from Klein. Continue reading “Teacher Bonuses Fail Again”

Teacher Turnover Harms Student Achievement

A new study from the United States shows that teacher turnover in schools lowers student achievement, especially for low performing and black students. Students in grades with higher teacher turnover scored lower in both English and mathematics. The study also found that teacher turnover has a disruptive effect on students apart from changing the composition of teacher quality in schools. Continue reading “Teacher Turnover Harms Student Achievement”

Gillard and Garrett Ignore the Evidence Against Teacher Bonuses

Nothing more clearly demonstrates that education policy under the Gillard Government is an evidence-free zone than the announcement last week on new funding to start paying bonuses to the top teachers in Australia.

The Government has proceeded with the scheme even though the large majority of major research studies in recent years, including three new academic studies in recent months, demonstrate that teacher bonuses do not increase student achievement and can actually undermine student learning. Continue reading “Gillard and Garrett Ignore the Evidence Against Teacher Bonuses”

Competition for Test Results is not the Way We Should be Heading

Maralyn Parker is right on the money in her column in the Daily Telegraph this week. She says all that needs to be said about the Julia Gillard’s teacher bonus scheme. Pitting teacher against teacher is not the way to improve student outcomes. It can even reduce results. This is an extract from her column with our emphasis added. Continue reading “Competition for Test Results is not the Way We Should be Heading”

Performance pay for teachers is a terrible idea and here’s why

On 7 February 2007, the then-Federal Education, Science and Training Minister, Julie Bishop, announced that ‘like other professions, teachers should be recognised and rewarded on merit’. This policy announcement, made despite the Federal Government having no legal authority to set pay or conditions on public schools, was based on the pervasive private sector management practice of performance-related pay (PRP) and the incentive principles of inherent in neo-liberalism (economic rationalism). It purported to create an incentive in the employee (teacher) to improve his or her work performance, in order to improve the quality of output (education) that customers (students) receive. Continue reading “Performance pay for teachers is a terrible idea and here’s why”

Teacher Bonuses are Another Failed Scheme from New York

Save Our Schools has accused the Prime Minister of adopting another failed reform from her ‘hero’ from New York, former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. Trevor Cobbold, National Convenor of SOS, said that the research evidence shows that bonuses do not improve student results and will be a huge waste of money. Continue reading “Teacher Bonuses are Another Failed Scheme from New York”